PRINCE Premier 105 ESP Tennis Racquet Review
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The Prince Premier 105 ESP is designed for players with medium speed swings, so I had to tone down my usually aggressive stroke to get the most out of the frame. After doing so, the Premier 105 worked beautifully. The super open 14x16 provided loads of comfort, spin, and power. As soon as I acclimated to the launch angle off the string bed, I didn’t have any issues with control, even with the full multifilament string job. Though I noticed the additional length of the racquet (an additional ¼ of an inch), I believe it works well for the frame and doesn’t feel like an afterthought. When it comes to competitive play, the 105 square inch headsize is a little too large for me, but I enjoyed the easy power and spin when rallying against a less aggressive ball. For my style of play, I think a hybrid of poly mains and multi crosses would have played even better. And since the frame has such a high level of comfort, it should be able to accommodate poly without a problem.
The power of the Premier 105 ESP made volleying very easy, especially when using very little racquet movement. Against the weight of the ball that I’m used to (from an advanced, left-handed player), the frame felt pretty solid, but I did need to firm up my wrist/grip overall, to keep it from being pushed around. Against a slower, intermediate-level ball, the frame felt great. Like with most open pattern frames, I needed a small adjustment period to get used to the angle of the ball off the string bed. After closing the racquet face slightly, flying the ball deep was not a problem. Soft, short angles and drop volleys were a little better than average, but the frame is better suited to driving the ball off the court with pace.
Though flat serves pocketed deeply into the string bed before slingshotting off into the court, approaching the ball with the frame leading into contact produced a better response. When approaching the ball during a flat serve, I wasn’t able to whip the head of the racquet, which I attribute to the 105 headsize. Being used to a more compact stringbed, the Premier 105 just felt too large for me (though, I’m sure that’s a major selling point for others). Honestly, 100 square inch headsizes feel too large for me at times, so this was no surprise. However, when hitting spin serves, the frame came to life. When leading with the edge of the racquet, the frame felt much faster and produced some awesome results. At that point, I just decided to hit most of my serves with some degree of spin. My favorite serve was the slice slider out wide on the deuce court. As a righty, I found a great amount of power and spin to get past my opponent pretty regularly. Even when the serve was returned, my opponent was so far out of the court, that my next shot was usually a winner or forced an error.
The Prince Premier 105 ESP is a great successor to the EXO3 Red line of racquets. The Premier 105 ESP offers many of the well-liked features of both generations of EXO3 Reds, while including the spin and power boosting ESP technology, and a Double Bridge System for comfort. It will suit a large range of players: beginners looking to become intermediates, intermediates looking to become advanced, and advanced players that have maybe lost a step or some mobility. As a teaching pro, I found it very easy to teach with (feeding balls and light hitting). Regarding stringing, Prince recommended a 15L version of Premier Control (a multifilament). At 64lbs, I found it to play very nicely. However, some intermediate to advanced players might want to try a poly (in the mains, at least) if they are searching for a little less power and more spin.
About the Reviewer: Mitch Case is the Tennis Director at Woodridge Lake in Connecticut. He is also a PTR pro and a USRSA master technician.